Imagine if 100 years after you died, people started analyzing every text you'd ever sent, uncovering deleted punctuation and word choices and debating among themselves why you messaged that guy you were merely "looking forward to the party," when earlier drafts revealed you were, in fact, "so excited to see [him]!!"
That's exactly what we're doing to poor Charles Dickens, who would just like to die and be left alone O.M.G. seriously stop this is so embarrassing.
The Independent reports that "tens of thousands" of pages of "lost passages" from the original manuscripts of Dickens' great novels are set to be revealed via digital technology that removes the author's crossings-out and corrections.
The first violation of Dickens' privacy was performed by researchers from the Victoria & Albert Museum, who have already analyzed his short story The Chimes.
The process involves combining two or more digital images of the manuscript pages: one lit from the front, one lit from behind. Computer software is then used to "subtract" one image from the other, revealing all kinds of crazy da Vinci codes and "I ♥ CH" doodles Dickens tried to cover up with boring stories about orphaned pickpockets and misers and ghosts.
Or that's how it works in theory.
Analysis of The Chimes didn't reveal anything particularly interesting. Everyone's glomming onto one line of text that read originally read "Years…are like men in one respect. Some of 'em die hard; some of 'em die easy," but was published as ""Years…are like Christians in that respect…"
Here's what the director of the Charles Dickens Museum , Florian Schweizer, said to the Independent in regards to this major shake-up:
"Why did he make that change? Quite a change. Literary scholars will ask themselves those questions."
He probably made that change because the line sounds punchier with "Christians."
Leave him alone, guys.